Life is Hard. There is no way around it. We live our days laboring under the sun, working long hours and providing for our families. There are deadlines to meet, meetings to set, and conflicts to resolve. After a long season of tough work, we’re just exhausted of the grind.
But the Grind doesn’t stop. It never does. And if you are a leader, this grind load is doubled. The body count of failed leaders is high. Many businesses and organizations close their doors every year due to burned out leaders finished off by the grind of life. These leaders do not endure well. Here are 5 ways leaders can combat the toils of leadership.
1. Define your life
What are your priorities? What takes precedence in your life? I firmly believe that The Good Leader can only really do 5 things with their life at any given time. There are only 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Being fully committed to enduring 5 things well is all one can really stand. Here is my sample priorities list:
1. Christian (Church member)
5. Hobby/extra project/higher education/sport
For the Good leader, there is not room to take on additional tasks and projects because he knows that would divert attention from other more important areas. Many leaders become out stretched with many different tasks and sacrifice their children or job for another area; which results in chaos that can tear through the life of the leader. Leadership is not a balancing act, trying to handle many tasks without dropping the other. Leadership is organized and laid out. And before you can dive into really growing in any one area, you must lay out your road map of priorities first.
Do you want to burn out? Don’t assess how much you can handle. Just take on every task possible in the name of ‘productivity’, and try your best not to say no or delegate.
2. Give of yourself completely
Let’s face it: Navigating the thorns and thistles of life will be hard. For those who want to lead others, it will be even harder. In order to make it out on top, you have to work hard.
A well known expression in football says: leave it all out there on the field. The phrase holds true for everyday life. Give everything you have in every area of your life. If you have a business or ministry, give 100% to it. Every hour you are at the office working, make sure you are getting after it. If you have a spouse or children, love them hard. Play ball with your kids, date your wife, watch family movies, watch their soccer games and have fun doing it.
The good leader knows no other way but working hard, loving hard, and leading hard.
Many ‘leaders’ do not work hard. They delegate nearly everything, are rude to their friends/ co-workers and can’t get anything done because they’re fantasizing about their couch and a television. This ‘leader’ can’t get support for their projects, doesn’t get respect from their families and they always have a chip on their shoulder, wondering why the whole world is against them. These ‘leaders’ are usually only leaders by title and not by calling.
3. Give respect, Command respect
The Good Leader recognizes hard work and potential and gives credit where credit is due. There is no jealousy or animosity towards others. If someone else does well or succeeds, the Good Leader is the first to look someone in the eye, shake their hand and say “well done.” Giving others respect is necessary to building allies and friendships in life.
Additionally, the Good leader knows trust is gained slowly and lost quickly. They open themselves up to criticism, learn from their critics and in turn they build respect amongst their peers over time. They work hard and do not pound their chests for it. Our God “opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5)”, so the good leader pursues humility in the hopes of garnering the respect from others.
The key to getting respect is being respectable. If you are someone that feels entitled to respect, but isn’t willing to put in the hours to be respected, then you get what you worked for. Being a sluggard, rude or obnoxious does not get you respect, it just gets others annoyed.
4. Do not sacrifice your family
What is the number one issue with america today? The state of the family. It is under attack. With 51% percent of marriages ending in divorce, and 50% of children being born without a father, The Family is taking the brunt of the damage from our mismanaged and neglected lives.
Leader, do not sacrifice your family. Do not lay it on the alter of the gods of ‘money’, ‘work’ or ‘productivity’. The truth is, if your family suffers, so will you. At that point, your home is no longer a sanctuary to enjoy your spouse and children. It is a war torn country that has endured much struggle and hardship. The number of people who work themselves into a family crisis is epidemic. Leader, do not fall into the trap of neglecting those you should be protecting.
Love, care for, and have fun with your family. Enjoy them more and watch the other aspects of life change for the better.
5. Realize you aren’t good enough
You fail from to time to time. There will be an instance where your end result does not match up with your expectations. That’s life. You are an imperfect, finite being. You have limitations and perfection for in this world is impossible. The sooner you realize you will fail yourself, the happier your life will be.
Some leaders will become frustrated in their journey for perfection. Frustration, anger and exhaustion will set in, which normally results in burnout or grievous actions. Failure is inevitable. But the way we bounce back from failure is truly what matters. Do you neglect your family in your pursuit of perfection? Do you ignore urgent needs in life to force a task that really has been exhausted? Do you forget to rest and recharge in the name of glory and praise to yourself? If so, eventually you suffer for that ignorance.
There has only been one perfect man to ever walk the earth. His name is Jesus. Let him make you perfect with his perfection, rather than pursuing a carrot on a stick.